Toothbrush 101

How to Brush - Old Toothbrushes

“I know how to take care of my toothbrush!”, you may say. Aren’t they pretty basic? But where are you doing with that toothbrush after brushing? Is it being stored in the best place? Our Yuba City dentist can help you make sure you’re taking good care of your toothbrush!

How to Care for Your Toothbrush

A toothbrush puts up with a lot. This bristly tool goes into your mouth to clean up after meals, snacks and desserts. It brushes away clinging food particles, fends off the plaque and tackles tarter. Toothbrushes are essential to keep our teeth free of cavities while maintaining healthy gums. Despite its simplicity and general toughness, this hardworking tool needs some TLC and proper care to keep your mouth and body healthy. For example, since toothbrushes do the dirty work of keeping your mouth clean, they become home to bacteria if not cared for properly.

Here are some tips for keeping your toothbrush in tip-top shape:

  • Replace your toothbrush every two to three months or when the bristles start to bend or wear down (see a couple of examples in the picture). Stock up when toothbrushes are on sale so you have them available when a replacement is needed.
  • Change your toothbrush after an illness or any sort of oral infection.
  • Consider changing your toothbrush after travel.
  • Store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible. When you flush, bacteria spread throughout the bathroom. So get in the habit of closing the toilet lid when flushing.
  • Here’s a Catch-22: it’s best to let your toothbrush air dry, brush side up, with lots of circulation. But given that most people store their toothbrush in a bathroom with a toilet, it may seem better to store your toothbrush in a closed place, like a medicine cabinet. A dry toothbrush limits bacteria, but a dark medicine cabinet limits circulation. What to do? A UV toothbrush sanitizer can be one way of dealing with this dilemma, but their quality varies greatly and it’s very important to check reviews before purchasing any product.
  • Do not share toothbrushes! Keep brushes separate by assigning a color or style for each family member and stick to that color so no mix-ups occur. Store toothbrushes so they don’t touch to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly after each use, making sure all clinging particles are removed and that there’s no remaining toothpaste on it. Combined with air drying, this is a simple, effective way to keep your brush somewhat bacteria free.
  • When in doubt, throw it out! With multi-packs of toothbrushes now available at dollar stores, cost is no longer a consideration. Use a new ADA-approved soft-bristled toothbrush for best results. And remember, if it makes them brush regularly, a toothbrush with their favorite comic hero or heroine is perfectly acceptable for children, or those young at heart.

For a healthy person with a good immune system, following these suggestions will keep your toothbrush reasonably clean. If you have a compromised immune system or a communicable disease, ask the dental professionals at the Yuba City Dental Group for specific suggestions on making your toothbrush super-clean. Contact our friendly staff at 530-671-4784 or via our website.

Yuba City Dentistry
ernst@gfxservices.com
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